At least 73 migrants are reported missing and presumed dead after an inflatable rubber boat sunk off the coast of Libya, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said.
The boat, crammed with around 80 migrants, reportedly departed from the village of Qasr al-Akhyar, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli, and was headed to Europe before the boat wrecked on Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
The UN migration agency said that “seven survivors who made it back to Libyan shores in extremely dire conditions are currently in the hospital”.
Libya Red Crescent (Al-Khums Branch) jointly with the police have recovered 11 bodies that washed ashore in Qasr Al-Akhya area.
The dead included one woman and 10 men, said IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli.
Qasr al-Akhyar officials shared footage online showing Libya’s Red Crescent workers handling corpses washed ashore. The footage also showed the ruined inflatable rubber boat. It was not immediately clear what happened to the rubber boat.
The central Mediterranean remains the world’s deadliest migratory sea crossing.
The latest tragedy brings the numbers of deaths there since the beginning of this year alone to 130, IOM said.
According to the agency’s Missing Migrants Project, more than 1,450 migrant deaths were recorded on that route in 2022.
And more than 17,000 deaths and disappearances have been recorded there since 2014.
“This situation is intolerable. Concrete action by states is needed to increase search and rescue capacity, establish clear and safe disembarkation mechanisms as well as safe and regular pathways to migration to reduce dangerous journeys.” IOM said.